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A loan agreement involving the debtor's own son put up as collateral (VS 1942)

ID: E_1544_0020

Edited and translated by Manik Bajracharya
Created: 2017-10-12; Last modified: 2018-06-23
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Published by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal, Heidelberg, Germany, 2017. Published by the courtesy of the National Archives, Kathmandu. The copyright of the facsimile remains with the Nepal Rashtriya Abhilekhalaya (National Archives, Government of Nepal). All use of the digital facsimiles requires prior written permission by the copyright holder. See Terms of Use.
The accompanying edition, translation/synopsis and/or commentary are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License CCby-SA.


This document formalizes a loan of mohara rupaiyās 24 taken by Bhānidās of Patan. He puts up his own son as collateral.

Diplomatic edition







Hail! Written on Monday, the 7th of the bright fortnight of Śrāvaṇa in the [Vikarama] era year 1942 (1885 CE).

[I], the debtor named Bhānidās, resident of Vāchu Nani in Patan, have taken a loan of mohara rupaiyās 24 in silver legal currency (lihalagata), in words twenty-four, from the creditor named Munidhaṃ Bāḍā, resident of Guital Tebh in the city of Patan. The interest on this money, which I have taken for my son's bartaman,1 I will pay at a rate of ten percent. As for the solemn promise to return the money, I will pay it in full by the month of Mārgaśīrṣa of this current year. For the [borrowed] money, I have put up my [own] son as collateral. If I cannot pay the money in full by the promised [date], the collateral shall be taken to the house of the aforementioned creditor. I have written this agreement (tamasuka) willingly, and have handed it over to the creditor.

The witnesses to this deed are: [my] father's younger brother(s) Dhivasiṃ Bāḍā [and] Nhusidhaṃ Bāḍā; and the scribe [and] witness Sitidās. The date is valid. Auspiciousness.


This document is an example of how debt bondage functioned in Nepal. Bhānidās had to borrow money for his son's vratabandha ritual, but had nothing other than his own son (probably the same one) to put up as surety for it. Failure to return this money would result in his son becoming a bondservant (Nep. bā̃dhā) in the creditor's house. For more on bondage, see Maske 1996: 32-33 and Regmi 1971: 117-118.


1. Bartaman (Skt. vratabandhana, "binding to an observance") is the life-cyclic initiation ritual by which a boy becomes a full-fledged member of his caste and lineage (cf. C. Zotter 2010: 17). []